Bengaluru: Six eminent scientists, including those from MIT, Harvard and Stanford universities, were awarded the Infosys Prize 2020 on Wednesday for their outstanding contributions to research and innovation.
The annual award includes a pure gold medal, a citation and a prize purse worth USD 100,000 or its equivalent in the Indian rupees, the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) said. The winners were awarded during a virtual ceremony in six categories — Engineering and Computer Sciences, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.
A panel of accomplished jurors comprising renowned scholars and professors shortlisted this year’s winners from among 257 nominations. “Developed countries have succeeded mainly by improving their higher education and research systems,” said Narayana Murthy, Founder – Infosys, and President ISF. “The Infosys Prize contributes to this mission in India by honouring the best scientists and researchers, whose work has the potential to improve our world,” Murthy said.
The Infosys Prize 2020 for Life Sciences was awarded to Dr. Rajan Sankaranarayanan from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad for fundamental contributions towards understanding one of the most basic mechanisms in biology, the error-free translation of the genetic code to make protein molecules.
Sankaranarayanan’s work has potential applications in the design of drugs such as antibiotics and immunosuppressants. The prize in the Engineering and Computer Science category was given to Professor Hari Balakrishnan from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US for his broad contributions to computer networking, and his seminal work on mobile and wireless systems.
In Humanities, Prachi Deshpande from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata was awarded for her nuanced and sophisticated treatment of South Asian historiography. In the field of Mathematical Sciences, the prize was awarded to Professor Sourav Chatterjee from Stanford University in the US for his groundbreaking work in probability and statistical physics.
The award in the Physical Sciences category went to Professor Arindam Ghosh from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for his development of atomically thin two-dimensional semiconductors to build a new generation of functional electronic, thermoelectric and optoelectronic devices.
The prize for Social Sciences field was awarded to Professor Raj Chetty from Harvard University, US for his pioneering research in identifying barriers to economic opportunity, and for developing solutions that help people escape poverty towards improved life outcomes.